Miniature Bronze Pendant of a Standing Figure
Dogon People, Mali
19th century & possibly earlier
Dogon blacksmiths were renown for their iron and bronze jewellery items, many of which are small and whimsical. The pendant here certainly is in that category. Cast using the lost wax process, it is tiny but detailed and shows a small standing figure with elongated features and a protruding belly button.
The elongated features are in keeping with Dogon wooden sculptural art.
There are no natural copper deposits in the Dogon areas of West Africa and so it is surmised that Dogon blacksmiths obtained their copper from trans-Saharan trade networks that brought copper from as far away as Spain. According to Ezra (1988, p. 110), Dogon copper-alloy smiths known as
jemo were itinerant workers and worked not only for other Dogon but also for Fulani and Mossi clients in neighbouring areas.
The pendant here is very fine and has a dark patina.
Ezra, K., Art of the Dogon: Selections from the Lester Wunderman Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988.
private collection, London.
Inventory no.: 4217